FOR TURNING THEIR BACK ON
DEYDA HYDARA’S ANNIVERSARY
A prominent Gambian politician has got an axe to grind with partners of the Gambian media for their refusal to turn up for the eighth anniversary assassination program of Deyda Hydara, the Managing Editor and co-proprietor of The Point newspaper. The Gambia Press Union marked Mr. Hydara’s anniversary with a conference at its secretariat in Fajara on Sunday.
Mr. Omar Jallow said as a firm believer in justice and human rights, he remains committed to the fight to bring the senior journalist’s callous and coward killers to justice. “We are in this together, and I am confident that one day the truth will come to light for the murders to be brought to justice,” he said.
He believed that “justice will take its cause” on Hydara’s case, describing him as “a martyr” who selflessly served his people during his lifetime. Mr. Jallow also applauded the Gambia’s energetic and committed young journalists operating under the country’s hostile media environment.
Mr. Jallow joined media executives in calling on the Jammeh government to energize the already stranded investigation on Hydara’s December 2004 drive by shooting murder along Sankung Sillah Road in Kanifing.
The local union Secretary General reaffirmed the GPU’s commitment to upholding the right to freedom of the press and expression. “Freedom of expression cannot be guaranteed when impunity remains the order of the day,” Mr. Gibairu Janneh said, renewing the union’s call on the government to “investigate the death of Deyda Hydra and bring those responsible to justice.”
Aldo speaking on the occasion was Deyda’s co-proprietor and longtime friend who publishes The Point. Mr. Pap Saine described Mr. Hydra as a man who served the cause of humanity as evidenced in his involvement in many development projects in the country.
Saine said, “We are not pointing fingers at anyone, but we are calling on the government to take its responsibility to investigate the death of Deyda Hydra and bring the culprits to book,” He also appealed to the government to abolish draconian media laws, open up access to information and re-open Taranga FM Radio, Standard and Daily newspapers. Mr. Saine wanted the government to portray the media as “a partner in development but not an enemy.”
For the owner and publisher of News & Report Magazine, it was hard to stomach that after eight years, Deyda’s murder remains a mystery. Mr. Suwaibou Conateh said it was about time that the unanswered questions were answered.
The editor of Foroyaa newspaper reminded the Gambia government of it “responsibility to protect the lives and properties of it citizens,” and as such it should investigate any attack on its citizens. Mr. Sam Sarr said the culprits would have been found if there “is a great interest” on the part of the government.
“Let the government intensify it efforts and use all means to bring to book the murderers of Deyda Hydra,” Mr. Sarr said.